Why you shouldn’t hire a friend

The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

When Jason Raftis was a manager at a automaker in Florida, he decided to hire a lifelong friend in his department. He soon realized his mistake. His acquaintance began to brag about the antics they were doing at the university in front of other employees and to disrespect him.

“It became a nightmare,” recalls Raftis, who is now a business account executive. “He believed that because we were friends, he had the freedom to do what he liked and claimed rights that no other employee would have claimed.”

Why you shouldn’t hire a friend
Why you shouldn’t hire a friend

Raftis eventually had to fire him. His advice: “Only hire strangers. They are easier to handle and to fire. ”

Mixing friendship and business carries many risks. Before hiring a friend – and more importantly, before going to work with one – it is crucial that you weigh the pros and cons.

A bad hiring can affect your reputation and give a bad signal of your ability to judge, not to mention that it can irreparably damage your friendship. Furthermore, personalities change – not always for the better – when people go from being friends to colleagues.

“What if the friend is super competitive and tries to make you look bad, damaging existing business relationships?” Says Nancy Keene, founder of The Perfect Fit , a leadership consultancy. “Not everyone can make the switch from friend to colleague.”

Make it official

Wanting to help a friend can unleash a chain of events with unfortunate consequences. One way to protect the friendship, but help him get a job, is to refer him to the human resources department. It is common for these teams to ask for references from existing employees in the company.

Thus, your friend will submit to the same level of scrutiny as any other candidate. “If they are not good enough to pass the job interview, then they will not get the place. You've already done something good for your friend, but you didn't have to decide and your friend can't get mad at you if there wasn't a hiring, ”says Keene. “In the same way, if they hire your friend and things go wrong, your hands will be clean.”

Of course, hiring a friend is not always a bad thing. If they have worked together before, it is very likely that they will make a great team again because they already know what the other's work ethic is.

The two sides of the coin

The pros and cons of this situation are for both parties. If you're the person your friend is hiring, you should view the job opportunity as objectively as possible, says Dr. Andrea Bonior, clinical psychologist and author of The Friendship Fix .

“You need to assess if it really is a good job for you, regardless of whether your friend works in the same place,” he says. “You may think it is a great job opportunity because you want to spend more time with your friend and are ignoring the reality of work.”

For example, you should consider things like salary, transportation time, career advancement opportunities, and so on.

“Sometimes friends want to help you by offering you a job opportunity in a position that just doesn't work for you,” says Bonior. “You should study the pros and cons like you would any other job.”

Put it on paper

How well do you know this friend? Do you trust this person to do business? What happens if the employment relationship does not work?

“These are the questions you should ask yourself before committing to work with a friend,” says Anita Pickerden , life coach. No matter how well you think you know a person, you should be aware of all the details of the job before you begin. “They may be very good friends today, but like any other job, you need a contract to back you up in case things don't go as planned.”

Some conflicts will inevitably come to light, says the expert. “No matter how strong your friendship is, they will have professional disagreements and they need to be fixed before they affect your personal relationship.”

It doesn't have to end badly

It is important that you ask the same questions that you would ask any other boss. Before agreeing to go to work for a friend, ask yourself, will you be comfortable with a hierarchical relationship at work? Are you willing to work for your friend even when you disagree with his decisions? Do you know what is expected of you?

There will be occasions where your work will have to matter more than your friendship. However, many people work for their acquaintances and their friends do not end in tears. You just have to be very professional in this working relationship.

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